Published on February 12th, 2014 | by Eliza Gower


5 pho-beating Vietnamese dishes

Read time: a bit over 2 minute

Let’s be frank. Food is hands down the best part about travelling. Sure there’s Ancient Wonders, sunsets, camel rides, beaches, mountains, places of spiritual pilgrimage, blah, blah, whatever. But honestly, what is Machu Picchu without a face full of ceviche? (Or guinea pig, whatever tickles your fancy). And what is the Great Wall without a dangerous number of questionably-filled-but-delicious dumplings? Or the plains of the Serengeti without a freshly-killed gazelle carcass? Ahem. Sorry.

Vietnam really steps things up a notch, though. Pho, bánh mì and rice paper rolls take centre stage, pretty much because they rule. But despite the vast quantity of pho-soaked noodles we non-Vietnamese consume each year, it turns out we don’t actually know that much about the array of tasty morsels available in ye olde Vietnam. The good news is that pho is just the beginning.

Ca cha

ca_cha_yun huang yong
Photo courtesy of Yun Huang Yong

Marinated fried fish with peanuts, herbs, and lotsa sauce. You had us at fried, Ca cha.

Bánh xèo

Photo courtesy of Yoppy

Like a crepe, but salty, and fried, and crispy, and filled with pork and prawns, and wrapped with lettuce or ricepapers, and stuffed with herbs, and covered with sauce and… pretty much nothing like crepes and everything like DELICIOUS.

Ga nuong

ga_nuong_ducson nguyen
Photo courtesy of Ducson Nguyen

Simply grilled chicken, but super tasty and amazing with lots of saucey, flavoury goodness. Imagine street-side chicken barbeques everywhere you go. It’s pretty much a smoky poultry heaven.

Banh khot

banh_khot_manda wong
Photo courtesy of Manda Wong

Little, tiny, coconut, friedy, pankcakey things that come en masse with PORK FLOSS. Yes, you read correctly, the two happiest words on the planet in one even happier place. There’s also lettuce and green papaya and herbs and sauces etc etc etc.  A taste explosion.

Bot chien

Photo courtesy of Manda Wong

Fried rice cake (which is just gelatinous ricey goodness that gets all crispy on the edges thanks to the frying) with egg, soy and some crunchy vegies. It’s pretty much the equivalent of instant noodles for students in Vietnam. But way, way better. In fact, saying they are better is like saying Keith Richards is better than Justin Bieber. One is a legend and one is in jail.

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About the Author

Writing about travel is an excellent form of torture. Excellent because, writing about travel. Torture because, writing about travel. But I can’t complain too much. I got to spend a good many years gallivanting around, eating the food, seeing the things and sleeping in odd positions. Now every time the FOMO gets too intense, I just channel my wanderlust into bad travel adjectives. SAY NO TO AZURE.

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